As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp: https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019/
Hello, Lighthouse has been my favorite ALA pick thus far, even though the lighthouse is the main character; if the author would’ve developed the unnamed characters a little more, Hello would’ve been a superb book. The illustrations were so lovely (I love that the book was tall–like a lighthouse) and the details about a lighthouse keeper’s life so interesting, the lack of character development didn’t matter (too much).
The idea of lighthouse keeping jobs being done away with through automation could’ve been stressed a little more–even going so far as to show how much safer life is with dangerous jobs being automated.
Showing what it was like growing up in a lighthouse would’ve been something children would’ve related to more; I was curious as there was nowhere for the child to play outside–the island that the lighthouse stood on was just a pile of rocks.
I was impressed that the author conducted so much research for a fictionalized book (much less for children) on lighthouses; it shows in the pictures especially. However, there was so much more information in the “About Lighthouses” section printed on the back cover–delightful details that many children will miss because they’re only going to know what was included in the story itself, such as lighthouse keepers needing assistants to play checkers with to help share the night watch and what kind of information was recorded in the logbook.
Details like the lighthouse keeper sending handwritten messages in a bottle was a nice touch–a little more of that and less of the “Hello, hello, hello,” refrains would’ve been great. The book reads much better without those the latter as they disrupted the flow of the narrative.
The “circle of life” when the wife was expecting was cute (even though I had to turn the book around to read it); other details like certain scenes being viewed inside the lens of the telescope added interest (but not busyness). However, the page that was folded into the book was extraneous.
Being a dollhouse lover, I loved the cross-section of the lighthouse, being able to see all the rooms; intricacies such as that, as well as the sense of time passing with the changing of the seasons and the little girl growing up, brought this book to life.
This book and the author’s passion for lighthouses made me want to visit one; I even googled what old logbooks looked like (which, by the way, are boring).
This one’s a keeper!
Suggested activity: If there’s a lighthouse in your area, visit it. If there isn’t (and even if there is), you can buy a “logbook” (i.e. journal) and show your child how to keep a record of things that are of interest to them. Make it as simple or as complex (depending on your child’s age) as you wish. Depending on your child’s age, write for them or use this form of journaling to practice their writing (or drawing) but always include the time and date (this is a great way to teach them how to read and understand a clock and calendar) with each entry. This activity is to just get them writing, documenting, and learning how to remember things by doing so.